[ISN] Employee Revenge: Corporations Lose Millions to Internal Data Theft

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Jun 05 2002 - 01:16:11 PDT

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    Forwarded from: "eric wolbrom, CISSP" <ericat_private>
    June 4 -- There was a time when vindictive former employees sought
    revenge by taking a couple of office supplies or spreading rumors
    about the boss.
    But in today's computerized offices, angry workers and disgruntled
    employees can access computer systems and destroy data with a click of
    the mouse, causing millions of dollars in damage.
    Richard Hunter, an analyst with Gartner, says that while cybersabotage
    is rampant and rising, companies are usually too embarrassed to report
    A recent FBI survey of anonymous companies showed 85 percent had a
    computer intrusion in the last year. Of these intrusions, 30 percent
    were from outside hackers, while 70 percent came from people
    associated with the company.
    Despite the wall of silence, we managed to dig up some notable cases
    of employee sabotage. Below you'll find five examples of disgruntled
    employees who wreaked havoc on corporate computer systems and ended up
    in jail.
    Crashing Forbes:
    A Forbes computer technician deliberately caused five of the
    publisher's eight network servers to crash as retribution for his
    termination from a temporary position.
    All the information on the affected servers was erased, and no data
    could be restored. As a result of this one act of sabotage, Forbes was
    forced to shut down its New York operations for two days and sustained
    losses in excess of $100,000.
    E-Mail overload:
    Lockheed Martin's email system crashed for six hours after an employee
    sent 60,000 co-workers a personal email message complete with a
    request for an electronic receipt.
    The defense contractor, which posts 40 million emails a month, was
    forced to fly in a Microsoft rescue squad to repair the damage caused
    by the employee.
    Data destruction at Verizon:
    A 32-year-old Florida man pleaded guilty to a charge of intentionally
    damaging protected computers at a network support center owned by
    Verizon Communications.
    Verizon said that at 3 a.m. on a weekday the employee began to erase
    data contained in the computers and entered a command that prevented
    anyone from stopping the destruction process.
    His actions resulted in more than $200,000 in damage. He now faces up
    to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
    Server sabotage:
    A Hewlett-Packard employee sabotaged important tests on one of HP's
    new computer servers, giving it lower performance results that cost
    millions of dollars in resources and lost sales, according to a
    lawsuit filed by HP.
    Just before he was fired, the employee reformatted important computer
    disks, cut cables to the test computer, and altered logs to try to
    hide his acts. HP says it spent more than $1 million trying to fix the
    HP also alleges that the employee copied email records, accessed
    private computer systems, and transferred confidential information
    outside the company. HP is asking that the ex-employee be forced to
    pay unspecified damages.
    Omega's $10 million software bomb:
    Omega Engineering suffered losses of $10 million when a terminated
    network manager detonated a software time bomb he had previously
    planted in the network he helped create.
    The bomb paralyzed Omega, a manufacturer of high tech measurement and
    control devices used by the Navy and NASA. The malicious software code
    destroyed the programs that ran the company's manufacturing machines.
    One fateful morning, a worker at Omega's manufacturing plant booted up
    the central file server that housed more than 1,000 programs and the
    specifications for molds and templates. Immediately after the bootup,
    the server crashed, erasing and purging all the programs on it.
    The incident led to 80 layoffs, and the company says it caused the
    departure of several of its clients.
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